April is IBS Awareness Month, a time to support others with irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and share information. The 2023 theme is increasing public awareness of IBS and helping to destigmatize the different types of IBS. April 19, 2023, is World IBS Day 2023.
IBS is one of the most common gastrointestinal disorders, affecting
That’s why, in 1997, the International Foundation for Gastrointestinal Disorders (IFFGD) established April as IBS Awareness Month. This year the focus is on destigmatizing the types of IBS.
Social media is one easy way to share your story, find support, and get involved this year.
World IBS Day is Wednesday, April 19, 2023. This year there are several ways to show your support and share your stories of IBS. Here’s how to participate in World IBS Day:
- Include #WorldIBSDay2023 on all your social platforms.
- Join the conversation on Twitter at @WorldIBSDay.
- Share your story on the “IBS Chat” podcast.
Facts and stats about IBS
- IBS affects approximately
12%of people in the United States.
- Women are up to
two times more likelythan men to develop IBS.
- People younger than 50 years old are
more likely to develop IBSthan people older than 50.
- You are
more likely to have IBSif you have a family member with IBS.
- Up to
50%of people with IBS get care from a healthcare professional.
Experts define IBS by referring to a group of symptoms. Sometimes called the ABCDs of IBS, these symptoms include:
- A — abdominal pain
- B — bloating
- C — constipation
- D — diarrhea
Other symptoms of IBS include:
Contact a healthcare professional if you have any of these symptoms because they may indicate a more serious condition:
- changes in bowel habits lasting more than 6 weeks (especially if you are more than 50 years old)
- unexplained weight loss
- a lump in your stomach or swelling
- a lump in your anus or swelling
- anal bleeding
In 2023, the IBS Awareness Month theme is destigmatizing the different types of IBS. The first step is understanding the different types of IBS and how they affect people.
Types of IBS include:
- IBS with constipation (IBS-C): You may have IBS-C if you have atypical stools that are hard and lumpy or not loose and watery at least a quarter of the time.
- IBS with diarrhea (IBS-D): You may have IBS-D if you have atypical stools that are loose, watery, and not hard or lumpy at least a quarter of the time.
- IBS with mixed bowel habits (IBS-M): You may have IBS-M if you have atypical stools that are watery and loose about a quarter of the time, and they are hard and lumpy another quarter of the time.
- Post-infectious irritable bowel syndrome: This type happens when IBS starts after a bout of “stomach flu” or a “stomach bug” — gastroenteritis.
Researcherssuspect it may relate to persistent inflammation or changes in the gut flora.
- Post-diverticulitis IBS: This type of IBS happens after episodes of diverticulitis and can occur even after treatment for diverticulitis.
Tips for finding a healthcare professional if you think you have IBS
- Speak with friends or family members who may also have IBS and ask for recommendations for healthcare professionals who have helped them.
- Ask your primary care doctor or other healthcare professionals you talk with for recommendations.
- The following organizations have services to help you find healthcare and mental health professionals in your area:
- The American College of Gastroenterology has a tool to help locate gastroenterologists in your area if you live in the U.S. or Canada.
- The IFFGD has resources to help you find members of your IBS healthcare team in your area.
- The North American Society for Pediatric Gastroenterology, Hepatology, and Nutrition can help you locate a pediatric gastroenterologist in your area. You only need to enter your city and state.
A great place to start is with your primary care doctor if you have one or another healthcare professional you trust. It’s important to share your symptoms. You may need a referral so that your insurance can cover the cost of other healthcare professionals you may need.
A treatment team to help with IBS may include:
- A gastroenterologist: A gastroenterologist is a doctor that specializes in conditions that affect the digestive tract.
- A registered dietitian: Nutrition specialists and registered dietitians can help you plan nutritious meals that help avoid your triggers and may relieve your symptoms.
- Behavioral health and mental health professionals: Working with a behavioral or mental health professional can help you address stress, anxiety, and depression, for example, which can occur from your symptom causes or result from your symptoms.
April is IBS Awareness Month, and April 19 is IBS Awareness Day. This year’s theme is destigmatizing the types of IBS. This month is an opportunity to find support, share your story, and build an effective healthcare team that meets your needs.